Our Generation’s Snake Oil, What about my Hazmat Suit?



The light bulb in your child’s bedside lamp that has been replaced with a CFL accidentally falls over, and the bulb breaks…the mercury in that CFL is so toxic that according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website you should: Leave the room. Kick out the kids and pets. And whatever you do, don’t vacuum. Don’t vacuum? What if it breaks on carpet?…



Ricken Patel – Avaaz.org

save-the-bees200Right now, billions of bees are dying. Already, there are nowhere near enough honeybees in Europe to pollinate the crops, and in California — the biggest food producer in the US — beekeepers are losing 40% of their bees each year.

We’re in the middle of an environmental holocaust that threatens all of us, because without pollination by bees, most plants and ⅓ of our food supply are gone.

Scientists are sounding the alarm about pesticides that are toxic to bees, and say we’re using way, way more pesticides on our crops than we need. But as with oil companies and climate change, big drug companies that sell pesticides are fighting back with corporate-funded junk science that questions the evidence, and gives politicians an excuse to delay.

Scientific studies are expensive. Avaaz may be the only crowdsourced funding model in the world able to raise enough to fund the world’s first large scale, grass-roots supported, totally independent study of what’s killing our bees, that decisively challenges the junk science of big pharma. The need is urgent, and if we can’t do this, it’s not clear who can. Let’s see if we can raise a massive fund to save our bees.

Click to pledge what you can, we’ll process your donation only if we raise enough to fund a study that can go head to head with big pharma:
We’re running out of time. A new study has revealed the scary truth: in more than half of European countries, there are not enough honeybees to pollinate crops. In the UK, the honeybee population is only a quarter of what is actually needed for pollination — and although other kinds of bees are stepping in to fill the honeybee void, we’ll likely start losing them too if we keep loading our crops down with pesticides.

And it might all be for nothing: in the 70 years since pesticides were introduced, we’ve learned that some of them do more harm than good when it comes to cultivating our food because they kill off the natural enemies of pests. Worse still, over time many pests become immune to pesticides, forcing farmers to use more and more deadly chemicals — often poisoning themselves in the process.

Everyone from official government agencies to scientists agree that one group of widely-used pesticides called neonicotinoids is killing bees. But chemical giants like Bayer and their supporters continue to argue against regulation of their products, presenting self-funded research they claim show pesticides aren’t necessarily responsible for the bees’ deadly decline. And it’s working — in the United States, the newest battleground for the ban on deadly pesticides, the government says there is not yet enough evidence to justify a ban. If we lose in the US, Europe could follow suit and lift their own temporary hold on these dangerous chemicals.

It’s time to end the debate once and for all. When enough of us pledge, Avaaz will fund research by highly-respected scientists to fill critical gaps in knowledge. Then, we can join beekeepers and local advocacy organisations in a massive global offensive to save the bees by fueling strategies like:

  • Organising a media tour with our giant Bernie the bee to ensure the research shows up in the world’s biggest media outlets.
  • Funding public opinion polls in key agricultural countries to smash the claim that farming communities can’t survive without bee-killing chemicals.
  • Going after retailers to take the deadly pesticides off their shelves. It’s already happening in Europe, but we’ll get supermarkets and garden centres around the globe to follow suit.
  • Campaigning hard to get a game-changing anti-pesticides bill that has been lounging in the US congress passed once and for all.
  • Naming and shaming those pushing the bee-killing pesticides by running hard-hitting billboard and newspaper ads.
  • Taking legal action to stop government agencies that have approved neonicotinoid pesticides, despite evidence proving they are toxic to bees and a host of other beneficial creatures.

The bees are up against a well-oiled, resource rich machine that will do whatever it takes to ensure the profits of chemical companies and big agriculture don’t take a hit. Pledge now to support a massive effort to save the bees — Avaaz will only process donations if we raise enough to make a difference:


If the bees die out, the world we hand off to our grandchildren will look very different — apples and almonds could become exotic foods in our supermarkets. But we’re making incredible progress in the fight to protect our precious pollinators: last year 2.4 million Avaaz members were part of a massive movement in Europe that convinced the EU Parliament to place a 2-year ban on the worst bee-killing chemicals. If our movement joins forces now to clear up the false debate that’s stalling our legislators, we could win urgently-needed pesticide bans all over the world and end the chemical war on bees once and for all!

With hope and determination,

Ricken, Mia, Emma, Allison, Christoph, Mais, Emily, Ian, Jeremy and the whole Avaaz team


Pesticides halve bees’ pollen gathering ability, research shows (The Guardian)

Honeybee shortage threatens crop pollination in Europe (BBC)

Pesticides ‘making bees smaller’ (The Guardian)

U.S. funds research to reduce use of pesticides harmful to bees (Reuters)

Chemical giants go to court, bees go to Washington, and giant carpenter bees (The Guardian)

One-Third of U.S. Honeybee Colonies Died Last Winter, Threatening Food Supply (Wired)

Pesticide Lobby Spends Millions To Defend Chemicals Tied To Bee Deaths (Huffington Post)

Warning Signs: How Pesticides Harm the Young Brain (The Nation)

Interested in Entering? Good News, You’ve Still Got Time … April 4

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The ACA Has Spurred The Largest Expansion In Health Coverage In America In Half A Century



Today marks the last day of the six-month open enrollment period for people to get insurance coverage through the state and federal marketplaces. Despite technical challenges and staunch ideological opposition, it has already been a huge success with over six million people enrolling. But in the last several days, the interest in signing up and the outreach efforts to those not yet covered has reached new heights.

Take a look at the final surge by the numbers:

  • 9.5 Million: Number Of Uninsured That Now Have Insurance Thanks To The ACA. A new analysis of enrollment data has found that almost ten million people who were previously without health insurance now are covered. The report estimates that two million have enrolled in private coverage on the new marketplaces; about 4.5 million previously uninsured people have gained public coverage through Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion; and about three million previously uninsured young people are now covered on their parents’ insurance plans. The law, as written by the Los Angeles Times, “has spurred the largest expansion in health coverage in America in half a century.”
  • 10 million: Number Of Visits To Heathcare.gov In The Past Week. The Washington Post tallied 8.7 million in the past week through Monday morning, with 2 million visiting this weekend alone. Today, the Department of Health and Human Services tweeted that there had been another 1.2 million visitors just by noon–”record volume.”
  • 125,000: The Number Of Concurrent Users On Healthcare.gov On Monday. An unprecedented level of traffic on the website has led to an unprecedented number of people using the site to sign up for health insurance.
  • 4,000: Number Of Grassroots Events To Help People Enroll In March. For all the money spent over the airwaves, grassroots organizing was a huge component of outreach efforts to get people signed up for coverage. Events took place all over the country, with a focus on reaching the uninsured to make sure they had the information they needed to enroll.
  • 300: Number of Radio Interviews Administration Officials Have Given In The Past Six Weeks. While there have been enormous efforts to use new media to promote the law, good old-fashioned radio has been a go-to source for top White House officials: from Chief-of-Staff Denis McDonough and Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett to President Obama himself.
  • 49 Percent: Public Support For The ACA. According to a ABC News/Washington Post poll out today, support for the law is at 49 percent, its highest level in months. Back in November, just 40 percent supported and 57 percent opposed the law; today the picture looks much different:


BOTTOM LINE: If there’s any indication that the Affordable Care Act is in high demand, this is it. The law is working, it’s here to stay, and it’s delivering on its promise to provide quality, affordable health coverage that will be there when consumers need it most. Conservatives will continue their repeal-at-all-costs agenda, but the success of these past six months will make it harder because people do not want to go back to the way it was.

Reminder: You still have until midnight tonight to sign-up for health coverage at HealthCare.gov.